It’s Valentine’s Day, and you, your sweetheart, or your child have food allergies. For some of us, this holiday can feel like a minefield of chocolate and candy. But the day isn’t just about food; it’s about love and caring. If you’re looking for tips to help make the day a sweet and safer one, look no further!
- Buying Treats and Advance Planning: Many candy manufacturers may change their packaging for Valentine’s Day (for example, everyday chocolates/candies may be shaped like hearts) and those treats may have different production practices than their non-holiday counterparts. Before buying anything, make sure you read the label (it’s a good idea to read it three times: once in the store, once at home, and one more time before consumption). If there are any questions, be sure to call the manufacturer/s before purchasing the product to ensure that no ingredients have changed, and that the product is still safe for you or your loved one/s. If you’re unsure, it’s best to avoid it.
- Non-food ‘Treats’: From Valentine’s Day themed printables to colouring pages and other activities, there are many ways to celebrate the day. Pinterest offers hundreds of fun craft ideas; simply choose the non-food craft that works best. Of course, always remember to read the labels of craft materials for potential allergens.
- Classroom Inclusion: Ask your child’s teacher what their plans are for Valentine’s Day. If food is on the agenda, this is a good time to have a discussion about making every child feel included, and ensuring that the day is a special one for all. For teachers, here’s one non-food Valentine’s Day page you and your students are sure to love.
- Reminders: If your child has food allergies, this holiday is an excellent opportunity to remind them about the importance of reading ingredient labels and knowing how to say “no thank you” when offered Valentine’s Day treats that haven’t been approved by a parent or guardian. And remember to teach your child that if there is no ingredient label, the product should be avoided.
- Love: Valentine’s Day can be a day to think about creative, thoughtful ways to show love for others, and even the smallest children can participate. For example, helping a family member cook or tidy up, or bringing a non-food craft over to a neighbour’s house just because. Some families might want to consider volunteer projects, such as donating old toys or books to a hospital or donating time to a local community organization. After all, when it comes to love, no single day of the year can contain it.
For additional tips on planning around any holiday, visit our holidays page.
Wishing you and yours a very happy Valentine’s Day!